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Nuclear Safety Cooperation

R1.06/02 Preliminary Project Planning (PPP) for the replacement of safety related steam/ water valves

TACIS Region
Benefitting Zone
Eastern Europe and Central Asia
€ 1,632,650.61
EU Contribution
Contracted in 2003
Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States


Type of activity

On Site Assistance



Contracting authority

European Commission

Method of Procurement

Direct Agreement & AV DA


10/09/2003 - 09/08/2006





Project / Budget year

TACIS 2002 Nuclear Safety Action Programme / 2002


Relevant project context
BN600 NPP, end-user of the equipment and services provided by this contract, is a fast Breeder Reactor with sodium-based cooling system located in the Beloyarsk site. This reactor belongs to the second generation of Russian reactors and it is in operation since 1980.

BN600 is regularly operated to generate electrical energy for civil purposes and it is foreseen to use mixed uranium-plutonium fuel produced from excessive weapon-grade plutonium stock.
The NPP is at present involved in a large modernization program aimed to increase the plant life to 40 years (plant shutdown 2020)

It was expected that the participation of the European Commission in the projects on modernization of BN600 NPP will not only make it an object of even wider international cooperation but also promote further development of mutual confidence in the field of atomic energy for the use of nuclear materials for peaceful purpose.

Under the provision of the TACIS Program, the co-operation between the Beloyarsk NPP and the Consultant Consortium EDF/SOGIN (NERSA until 1999) started in 1993. Eleven Specific Projects were identified and six were completed. The remaining projects were at the beginning of the contract at least at the stage of supply contracting. This common work has allowed establishing solid links between the Russian plant and European partners.

The assistance to BN600 went on by the implementation of the 3-years Project: “Replacement of Safety related steam / water valves”, which was inserted by EC in the budget 2002 for its first stage, the Preliminary Project Planning (PPP).

The achievement of the PPP stage is the main subject of this service contract between the EC and the Consultant EDF/SOGIN.
Main problems/deficiencies

The specific objective of the “3-years project” is the reliability improvement of the steam/water system of BN600 NPP in case of normal and incidental situations. This system ensures two relevant safety functions:

  • the decay heat removal in normal and accidental conditions ( It must be pointed out that no other system provides the plant with this function);
  • the isolation of the steam generator modules in case of sodium/water reaction (leak between the secondary sodium loop and steam/water circuit).

The valves installed in the steam/water systems feeding the Steam Generators and the Turbines of Beloyarsk NPP are selected from the current production of valves for the Russian thermal plants because the steam and water have physical characteristics higher than the value of NPPs but usual for thermal conventional plants.

The manufacturing quality and reliability of available Russian valves is not suitable for a Nuclear Safety purpose and until now the Russian manufacturers have not been able to modify and improve their production to supply the small number of valves needed by Beloyarsk NPP.

This project consisted in replacing a number of valves of the steam/water system of BN600 NPP by new ones of better quality and compliant with Russian Regulations presently in force. The final aim of the project is to increase the reliability of the steam/water system and therefore the safety of the plant. The total number of valves to be replaced is 231. All these valves are classified Safety Relevant in the NPP Safety Analysis Report.

Since 1990 Beloyarsk NPP started defining the improvement of plant systems on the basis of the Safety Analysis Report and the Plant Modernization Program. Among the defined actions, some actions have been carried out by the NPP; some others, when the available Russian technology was not suitable, were proposed as specific TACIS projects.

The project “valve replacement” is part of this list and has been proposed as TACIS “3-years” project by the former Russian MINATOM . The TACIS Technical Expert Group in June 2002 approved the project. It must be stressed that some preliminary tasks related to the project were carried out among previous TACIS contracts. In particular the following was carried out:

  • a reliability study aimed to demonstrate the lack of safety reliability of the existing system,
  • the drawing up of the Technical Specification for purchasing a set of western valves.

The Technical Specification was approved by the End-User but was not submitted to the licensing process.”


Implementation of Preliminary Project Planning of the “3-years project” for Beloyarsk NPP “Replacement of Safety related steam / water valves”:

  • To complete the drawing up of the Technical Specification for equipment procurement and related services;
  • To support the Beneficiary / End User in the nuclear licensing process;
  • To develop an overall project management strategy and organization for the PIP stage (the Site Co-ordination Unit, SCU) and to prepare a high level project schedule;
  • To enable the European Commission to make a financial commitment for equipment procurement, installation and commissioning.

Follow up of specific projects (after the end of TACIS contract 98.0014 on 20/7/04):

Added by Addendum 2:

  • To review the tender dossier of equipment project R1.06/05A lot 2 “Emergency circuit breakers for Beloyarsk NPP”;


The project, subject of this contract, is the continuation of the TACIS project “On-Site Assistance” for Beloyarsk NPP already implemented in the contract 98-0014 (end of contract July 2004)).

The project is focused on the implementation of the stage PPP of the “Large Scale Project, for Beloyarsk and it is completed by some OSA specific activities. This project doesn’t provide for any supplementary equipment supply.
The activities of the contract were defined on the basis of the Project Description Sheet approved by the EC Expert Committee in June 2002.

The Consultant in charge of the project is the Consortium EDF/SOGIN where EDF acts as Consortium Leader. In particular EDF is in charge of the General Operation Assistance. The contract technical activities are shared between EDF and SOGIN.

Unlike the previous OSA contracts, the General Operation Assistance was carried out with an “on site” Team Leader (50% of work time) in charge of, as main task, the general coordination of the activities.
In the contract duration was foreseen the achievement of the status of Final Acceptance for all supply projects (Specific Projects) for BNPP.

The main aim of the project was the completion of the TS of the supply project “Valves”. This task was combined with complementary tasks or activities, which are notably:

  1. The Licensing Process related to the project “Valves”;
  2. The development of the TS of the “Tools”. The “Tools “ will enable the BNPP to replace in the best conditions the valves;
  3. The revision of the TS of the “Breakers”. This project was added in the final version of the PDS of the PIP for BNPP
  4. To obtain the insertion of the Large Scale Project for BNPP in the Action Program 2005.

The first months of the contract, until June 2004, were spent to collect technical information on the valves and for studying the real possibility to promote the collaboration between Western and Russian valve manufacturers as foreseen in the initial PDS. This information was a precondition for a proper drawing up of the Technical Specification. On June 2004 the conclusion of a survey was that the Western manufacturers were not, or not enough, interested to develop collaboration with Russian partners in the frame of this project. The decision was made (Meeting in Brussels June 2004) not to mention this collaboration in the TS.

Even if the survey brought to this “negative” conclusion, the survey was very useful to gather technical information on the valves, to make aware the most qualified manufacturers on the further publication of the project and for the budget assessment.

In parallel the BNPP prepared two documents necessary for the project Licensing:
the “Decision on Modernisation “ (DM) and the “Terms of Reference for implementation of Design and engineering activities” (TOR), which were presented to Regulatory Authority (Rostechnadzor, RTN) in July 2004.
It must be stressed that the TOR is a kind of “guideline” to prepare and achieve all parts of the project and in particular the Technical Specification.

The year 2005 was spent by the Consultant, the BNPP, Rosenergoatom and the different Russian Institutes reviewing and upgrading the TS.

The involved Institutes in the TS review were:

  1. Federal state Unitary Enterprise Saint Petersburg Research and Design Institute ATOMENERGOPROEKT(FSUE SPAEP) - general designer of BNPP
  2. Scientific Industrial Firm CENTRAL VALVE DESIGN OFFICE(CKBA)- general designer of the valves and pipelines of BNPP
  3. Federal state Unitary Enterprise Experimental and Design Organization (OKB GIDROPRESS) of the Russian Federation Ministry of Atomic Energy - general designer of the steam generator of BNPP
  4. The State Research Centre "Central Scientific and Research Institute for Machine-Building

Technology" (TSNIITMASH)- designer of structural materials of BNPP
In this stage of the project the support of the Company RESURS, Russian subcontractor, was very effective. RESURS dealt with all management tasks to gather technical information and remarks from the Institutes and REA departments.
In parallel JRC was also involved in the revision of the TS.

In June 2005 the results of calculations on the connections valves / piping were made available by the Institute SP-AEP and annexed to the TS (input data for valves design). The TS “final” version, approved by all technical actors, was available in December 2005.

Then started the procedure of circulation of the TS among the mentioned organizations, with the purpose of finalizing it for Final Acceptance. The process was iterative and took into account the remarks of the Russian Institutes, REA, Consultant Experts and JRC.

Meanwhile, in May 2005, EC timely suggested to extend the Consultant contract until June 2006 and the Addendum 2 to the contract was signed.
It was evident at this time that it was not possible to compete the TS preparation by September 2005, as foreseen in the initial contract. Moreover, by this extension, it was possible to ensure the OSA between September 2005 and the beginning of the following OSA contract, in force at earliest in autumn 2006.

In spring 2005 the preparation of the documents for the Experts Committee was started, for the assessment and technical approval of the Large Scale Project for BNPP. In April 2005 the PDS of the project was finalized and a technical explanatory note was drown up.

In the new PDS the scope of the project was enlarged by adding the project “Breakers”. Decision was made by EC to apply the “approach 2+2” to this project and to tender this project jointly with the project “Valves” (one publication, two lots).

With the delivery in December 2005 of a “final” version of TS “Valves” started the active stage of the Licensing Process for the “valves “project. The process was completed at the end of April 2006.

The very effective support provided by the BNPP experts in this stage (preparation of the answers to the questions of the RTN experts) was the key reason of the rapid approval of the TS (four months).
The involvement of the JRC in the preparation and revisions of the TS “valves” from the very beginning of the project allowed to speed up the process of preparation of TS.

In June 2006 the revision of the TS “breakers” was completed as well.

A new extension of the OSA contract (two months even if without a supplementary budget) allowed the Consultant and BNPP to finalize the tender dossier, which was finally published in August 2006
General overview of the tasks 5 “On site Assistance, local organisation”

Organization documents of OSA Local Team.

The Consultant OSA Local Team consisted only of the Team Leader (present on site 50% of his work time) supported by a local full time assistant. The Team Leader was working in tight collaboration with his correspondent of BNPP and the technical experts ware timely made available by BNPP according to the needs of the different activities. The QA systems of each organisation were used to implements these activities.

Because of the very simple structure of the Local Team, it was not necessary to draw up specific organisation documents.

Implementation of Local Team office.

In October 2003 the Local Office was set up.

The local office was located in the Hotel Tachov (owner BNPP) in Zarechny town, about three Km far from the BNPP. Two rooms (about 20 m) were made available, free of charges, by BNPP.
General overview of the tasks 6: OSA specific activities ”
Assistance to the Training Department

The assistance to the Training Department started in 99 in parallel with the delivery and commissioning of the training simulator. After this date event a number of activities were jointly defined and implemented by the BNPP and the Consultant with the external support of the Russian Company Simulation System Limited (SSL) skilled in pedagogic methods.

The activities carried out in the contract were:

  1. Development of three self-training pedagogic dossiers on general technical subjects. Three other dossiers had been already completed in the previous OSA contract;
  2. A users satisfaction survey on the existing self-training pedagogic dossiers;
  3. Feasibility study for the implementation of a remote e-learning system;
  4. Implementation of a remote e-learning system
  5. Transfer of one pedagogic dossier in the new system and its pilot operation.

The main purpose of the project was to provide the Training Centre with an effective pedagogic mean to reach with a limited number of instructors the largest number of potential users. Other advantage was to enable the Training Centre to manage with the new computerized system all training activities of BNPP.
For all these activities, the Consultant provided a very careful follow up and assistance with a real transfer of the western experience.

Other activities

Two seminars, operational experience exchanges, were organized.
The firs one was carried out in the EDF Golfech NPP to inform the BNPP experts on the western practices to prepare and manage a NPP outage. The second one, a seminar on the “Q.A. in the manufacturing control process”, was proposed by the Consultant to acquaint the BNPP experts with the western Q.A. methods on the valves manufacturing control.
General overview on the Specific Projects implementation
In the scope of the OSA activities the Consultant ensured the assistance during the implementation of two projects, the “Process Monitoring System” and the “H Monitoring”, and the warranty period of four others.

No problems must be highlighted for the implementation of the first two projects.

Concerning the warranty period of four others, the Final Acceptance of the project “Fire detection in cable tunnels” was still pending at the end of the project (It was foreseen in Mai 2005). BNPP and the Equipment supplier were trying to solve some technical problems arisen during the last months of warranty period.


(Quality of the results, Lesson learnED, Recommendations for follow-up)

The project was smoothly implemented without major problems.

A very good collaboration between the Consultant and BNPP to prepare and review the TSs allowed the achievement of the work programme. It must also be highlighted the deep involvement of the BNPP in the discussion with RTN experts.
It must be also highlighted the effective support provided by the company Resurs to organise revisions and meetings, to collect signatures and to solve logistic problems.
The only important deviation in the project implementation is the extension of the project time length from 24 months to 35 months.
The first evaluation of the contract duration was certainly too optimistic but some reasons explaining partially the delay could be pointed out. They are notably:
-The very important number of revisions of the documents. The most part of these cycles were completed in the shortest time and in practice it was not possible to reduce the time of each cycle. The only possibility to reduce the needed time is to try at the management level to reduce the number of cycles.
-The delayed start of the Licensing Process, 15 months after the contract beginning (September 2003 beginning of contract, January 2005 kick-off meeting of the Licensing Process) introduced some burdens in the contract implementation.
This process should have to begin in parallel with the project to get, at earliest, clear instructions from RTN on the implementation of the Licensing process. For instance the request from RTN to check the DM, the TOR and the TS at the same time was known only in March 2005. An anticipated information on this request would have favoured a quicker preparation of the TS “valves”
The early involvement of the JRC in the revision of the TS has been a favourable element, for the technical contribution and for facilitating the process.
Concerning the OSA activity “Assistance to the Training Department” some incomprehension between the Consultant and the BNPP arose in the implementation of the e-learning system. The assistance provided by the Consultant experts was focused on the preparatory work for the integration of the new system in the plant organisation, at the management and users level (feasibility study and impact study).
Despite their efforts, the Consultant experts could not clearly acquaint the Training Centre with the Western practices in similar projects i.e. projects where the installation and operation of a “tool” (the e-learning system”) is linked with a change “habitual practices” of a large audience. Moreover the very short available time prevented to carried out the pilot course and therefore to get the first feedback from the system operation.
A most careful preparation of the activity should hat to be necessary.
Further Information

Further information on the project results could be sought from the beneficiary organizations.